Locke rebuts Peters’ accusations of anti-Americanism

Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson MP Keith Locke has rejected Foreign Minister Winston Peters’ accusation that those who criticise the Bush administration are motivated by feelings of anti-Americanism.

“It is not ‘cheap shot’ anti-Americanism to criticise George Bush’s war in Iraq. It is a ‘cheap shot’ however, for Mr Peters to accuse those who disagree with Mr Bush of wanting to ‘jettison’ relations with the United States,” Mr Locke says.

“It is hardly ‘anti-American’ to side with the tens of thousands of patriotic Americans who are marching against the war, or to back American lawyers who are trying to help the people detained at Guantanamo Bay.

“New Zealand will earn a lot more American friends by telling the truth about Iraq, and by standing up for justice, than it will by keeping a cowardly silence.”

“If Winston Peters was to be acting as a real friend of America he would, in our name, be cautioning the US government from proceeding further down its destructive path in Iraq, ” Mr Locke says.

“Once a populist politician, Winston Peters has lost his ability to read the Kiwi mood, which is strongly opposed to the selfishness and the bullying of the Bush administration. It is sad to see our Foreign Minister choosing to go in to bat for George Bush, the most war-mongering American president in recent times.

“It is simply not acceptable for Mr Peters to say, as he did this morning, that we shouldn’t ‘go on’ about Iraq.

“People here and around the world are alarmed that George Bush is adding fuel to the fire by sending more troops to Iraq, and by threatening Iran into the bargain. We have a responsibility to speak out, rather than just watch the death toll rise,” said Mr Locke.